US Sanctions Drug Traffickers Operating Across Europe And North America

The United States has imposed sanctions on four foreign nationals who are involved in international drug trafficking, including cocaine and fentanyl.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned three Belgian nationals and one Mexican national for importing and distributing narcotics destined for U.S. and European markets.

The Belgian nationals sanctioned by OFAC are Othman El Ballouti, who is a high-level drug trafficker, his younger brother Younes El Ballouti, and his associate, Youssef Ben Azza.

OFAC also sanctioned Mexican national Franco Tabarez Martinez, a narcotics trafficker operating in Guerrero, Mexico, who works in alliance with La Nueva Familia Michoacana drug trafficking organization.

Othman El Ballouti manages an international criminal organization that smuggles significant quantities of cocaine via shipping containers through the Port of Antwerp in Belgium for wider distribution throughout Europe. His money laundering and narcotics supply chain networks are linked to businesses based in China, as well as South American cocaine suppliers.

Currently, Othman El Ballouti, Younes El Ballouti, and Youssef Ben Azza are wanted by Belgian authorities for cocaine trafficking. They are believed to be living in Dubai in an attempt to evade prosecution.

On July 7, an indictment charging Tabarez Martinez with drug trafficking, among other charges, was unsealed in the Northern District of Georgia. He was previously imprisoned in the United States for drug trafficking.

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